Monkeys in South America ‘enter the Stone Age by using tools to break food'

Rob Waugh
Not all the monkeys have mastered tools (Rex)

A group of white-faced capuchin monkeys in Panama have entered the Stone Age – using primitive tools to break nuts and shellfish.

The monkeys live on Jicarón island, off the coast of Panama, and a part of the country’s Coiba National Park.

Not all the capuchins in the area have started using tools – only males in a particular region of the island, the researchers say.

They are the fourth group of primates to enter the Stone Age, New Scientist reported.


Brendan Barrett at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology said, ‘We were surprised that this behaviour appears to be geographically localised.

Monkeys have been seen breaking coconuts, crabs and snails using rocks.

The researchers hope to learn how the behaviour has spread – and why it has remained confined to certain groups in the area.